Omega Dubai Desert Classic. Gallacher Gate Crashes the Party. February 01 2014
Stephen tee's off, watched by Tiger / Getty Images
Stephen is now in pole position to become the first man to successfully defend the Omega Dubai Desert Classic title following a brilliant round of -9 under par 63 on Saturday, to top the leaderboard at -16 under par. Stephen was actually ten under par for the last ten holes, he now has a two shot lead over Rory McIlroy, who could only manage a -3 under par 69 in his third round, he is at -14 under par.
Stephen did not know where the sudden blast of brilliance came from, he just said what an amazing game golf is;
"I don't really know to be honest, it was quite a struggle to start with, especially the first three holes. I was not quite right but if you stay patient and keep focused it's amazing what this game throws up. I hit it stiff on nine and from then on just kept hitting it close, and if I hit it to 30 feet I holed it. I was just trying to make as many birdies as I could and get a lead because I found the last time it's easier when you are leading than chasing. There's a lot of golf left to go but I will certainly be giving it my best shot."
Rory was not quite 100 per cent fit after a bout of food poisoning, caused by takeaway food on Thursday night. He said his round was just OK, and did not know that Stephen was ten under for his last ten holes;
"It was okay, I bogeyed the first again but birdied two and eagled three which was great. I didn't drive the ball particularly well, I'm probably going to work on a few things on the range and I felt like I hit a lot of good putts that just didn't go in. I felt like I left a few out there but it was a tricky day and shooting anything under 70 wasn't a bad score. Obviously Stephen had a phenomenal round, 63 today is a really impressive effort."
"I didn't know that. That's a great stretch of holes and hopefully he doesn't continue it tomorrow! I played with him the first two days and he played very well. Obviously he was on fire today, I just need to go out there and try to hit a few more fairways, focus on a few things in my game, not really focus on what he's doing and make a few putts and see where it puts me. It's the second week in a row for me going into the last day with a chance to win, it's a great position to be in."
There are two players tied in third spot, at -12 under par, Brooks Kopeka and Thorbjørn Olesen, they had very different rounds. Brooks had held the lead midway through the back nine until Stephen's charge, I don't know if he was watching the scoreboard but he dropped shots at the 14th and 15th to card a -2 under par 70. Thorbjørn on the other hand fired a flawless -7 under par 65 to move him up the leaderboard.
World Number One Tiger Woods shot -2 under par 70 to occupy a share of 37th place on -5 under par.
There are obviously low scores to had on this Emirates Golf Club course, so there is still a chance for many players to come from behind and take this title, I am looking forward to it.